Priyanka Chopra however believes that good fortune has followed her — be it in Hollywood or Bollywood.
Priyanka Chopra isn’t the least bit perturbed by competition, expectations or comparisons. On her recent visit home, the global icon talks about single-mindedly chasing her path, one dream at a time
Since her entry in showbiz, Priyanka Chopra has shattered many a glass ceiling. She became the first Indian to bag a pivotal role in a popular American television series, is easily the most widely featured Indian actor on international talk shows and in her first Hollywood outing — Baywatch —bagged a negative character over a Hollywood biggie.
So is it survival of the fittest? And she laughs, “As an Indian, I am still trying to bring about changes. When Quantico happened, Alex was actually planned for an American. But when I bagged this role, we added a few Hindi lines so that Alex’s country gets an apt representation. For Baywatch too, I was chosen as the villain over a big Hollywood actor. I would not reveal more though.”
PeeCee however believes that good fortune has followed her — be it in Hollywood or Bollywood. “Even in Bollywood, I have bagged equally amazing roles. I received respect in both the industries. The likes of Dev Patel and Riz Ahmed are noticed not as Indians, but as South Asian Indians; they have broken the mould. Ten years ago, Latin stars like Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, etc entered Hollywood. I think we need to break the stereotypical small roles in Hollywood films. It’s a fight; we need to stand up. I personally like to choose meaningful roles which represent my identity and my country.”
She also breaks the notion that to work in Hollywood, one needs to stand in a queue. “It’s never so. They have agents who send you scripts. And I had to work hard even here. I never entered glitz and glamour hoping to work in Hollywood; everything just happened. I would just love to act — be it Bollywood or Hollywood.
She also airs her opinion that gender disparity exists all over the globe. “Having said that, right now, we are passing through a better phase with Kangana’s latest film Tanu Weds Manu: Returns crossing Rs 100 core business at the box office. Even my Fashion and Mary Kom got good openings. Women are fighting for equality all over. The fight against pay disparity in Hollywood or Bollywood is one among those. Men are paid more in every industry. However, slowly and gradually, changes are happening; we too have some loyal fans like those big male actors!” she says. Priyanka recently donned the hat of a jury member at a short film festival abroad. “That was my first stint as a jury member. Surprisingly, there was just one Indian entry. We need more entries from India. We have some young filmmakers who can come forward and make short films. The fest saw some wonderful entries. I really got inspired and felt I need to work harder.” Asked about bagging bolder roles at the West, PeeCee just snapped, “Have you not seen
Hindi films? I do whatever is needed for the story other than sensationalising it. My standards of entertainment as an actor are the same in both the industries. The only difference is that my boyfriend is a White.”
For now though, Priyanka is just glad to be back. “I have returned from a wintry place to the summer here. But I love it.” Being back also means lapping up comfort food. “I love home-cooked food. My cook for the last six to seven years always accompanies me abroad. Usually, I love Indian food and I miss food cooked by my mom. But she always finds an excuse like discussing a production work to be with me.”
What about her diet? “It’s very simple. I guess my genes are really strong. I eat healthy food and exercise regularly. That keeps me fit. Being a Punjabi and a Bihari (from mom’s side), I love sweets and phulkas. Thankfully, I do not put on weight!”
On comparisons with Deepika Padukone, Priyanka says, “All my life I have been compared to others. I have no problem with it. I just want to set my next milestone. I might have been criticised for something or the other, but I pay no heed to it. My loyal fans may have pardoned me for that. For me, it is very important to work, work and keep working.”
As far as her success is concerned, she owes it all to her upbringing. “I am lucky to have parents who taught me to fearlessly give my opinion. All of us have the right to stand up and speak up. There is nothing right or wrong; it’s all about perceptions,” she says.